Health & Fitness
How to keep blood sugar down without taking insulin
Diabetes or Sugar is a set of related diseases in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar or glucose in the blood. Glucose in the blood gives you energy---the kind you need when you walk briskly, run for a bus, ride your bike, take an aerobics class, and perform your day-to-day chores.
Diabetes mellitus impairs the way the body uses digested food for energy. The sugars and starches (carbohydrates) in the food we eat are broken down by digestive juices into a simple sugar called 'Glucose'. Glucose circulates in the blood as the major energy source for the body. For cells in muscles and other tissues to use glucose for energy, the hormone insulin must be present. Insulin is produced by the pancreas gland located behind the stomach. When the right amount of insulin is present, glucose is either used as fuel for energy or stored in the liver for future use.
When your cells are exposed to insulin at all, they get a little bit more resistant to it. So the pancreas just puts out more insulin. Cells become insulin resistant because they are trying to protect themselves from the toxic effects of high insulin. They down-regulate their receptor activity and number of receptors so that they don't have to be subjected to all that stimuli all the time.
Different cells respond to insulin differently. Some cells are more resistant than others, as some cells are incapable of becoming very resistant. The liver becomes resistant first, followed by the muscle tissue and lastly the fats. As all these major tissues, become insulin resistant your pancreas is putting out more insulin to compensate. Any time your cell is exposed to insulin it is going to become more insulin resistant. That is inevitable; we cannot stop this process, but the rate we can control.
But the pancreas can't always keep up that high level of insulin production forever. Once the production of insulin starts slowing down, or the resistance goes up, then blood sugar goes up and the person becomes a diabetic.
" Insulin resistance syndrome " refers to a combination of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including chronically elevated insulin levels, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, abdominal obesity and high blood pressure.
Excessive intake of all carbohydrates, especially the high-glycemic type, is the primary culprit in the development of insulin resistance.
There are certain points in the understanding of diabetes and insulin that one must understand in order to cure it properly. The points are as follows;
- Glucose in the blood is produced by the liver from the foods you eat.
- In a healthy person, the blood glucose level is regulated by several hormones, one of which is insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, a small organ near the stomach that also secretes important enzymes that help in the digestion of food.
- Insulin allows glucose to move from the blood into liver, muscle, and fat cells, where it is used for fuel.
- People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or cannot use insulin properly (type 2 diabetes), or both.
- In diabetes, glucose in the blood cannot move into cells, and it stays in the blood. This not only harms the cells that need the glucose for fuel, but also harms certain organs and tissues exposed to the high glucose levels.
Type 1 Diabetes
The body stops producing insulin or produces too little insulin to regulate blood glucose level
- Type 1 diabetes comprises about 10% of total cases of diabetes in the US.
- Type 1 diabetes is typically recognized in childhood or adolescence. It used to be known as juvenile-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
- Type 1 diabetes can occur in an older individual due to destruction of pancreas by alcohol, disease, or removal by surgery or progressive failure of pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin.
- People with type 1 diabetes generally require daily insulin treatment to sustain life.
Type 2 Diabetes
The pancreas secretes insulin, but the body partially or completely unable to use the insulin. This is sometimes referred to as insulin resistance. The body tries to overcome this resistance by secreting more and more insulin. People with insulin resistance develop type 2 diabetes when they do not continue to secrete enough insulin to cope with the higher demands.
- At least 90% of patients with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is typically recognized in adulthood, usually after age 45 years. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes mellitus, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. These names are no longer used because type 2 diabetes does occur in younger people, and some people with type 2 diabetes need to use insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled with diet, weight loss, exercise, and oral medications. More than half of all people with type 2 diabetes require insulin to control their blood sugar levels at some points in the course of their illness.
Pre-diabetes is a common condition related to diabetes. In people with pre-diabetes, the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Pre-diabetes increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and of having heart diseases or even a stroke. Pre-diabetes can be reversed without insulin or medication by losing a modest amount of weight and increasing your physical activity. This can prevent, at least delay, onset of type 2 diabetes.
Complications of Diabetes
Both forms of diabetes ultimately lead to high blood sugar levels, a condition called hyperglycemia. Over a long period of time, hyperglycemia damages the retina of the eye, the kidneys, the nerves, and the blood vessels.
Damage to the retina (diabetic retinopathy) from diabetes is a leading cause of blindness.
Damage to the kidneys from diabetes (diabetic nephropathy) is a leading cause of kidney failure.
Damage to the nerves from diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) is a leading cause of foot wounds and ulcers, which frequently lead to foot and leg amputations.
Diabetes pre-disposes people to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These independently and together with hyperglycemia increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and other blood vessel complications.
Can diabetes be cured without taking Insulin?
If you have type 2 diabetes, there are many different ways to lower your blood sugar. Exercise and a reduced-calorie diet both lower blood sugar, and together they are the first-choice treatment for type 2 diabetes. A wide variety of pills are available for use when exercise and diet changes are not enough to lower blood-sugar levels. Insulin injections are also a reliable and safe treatment for type 2 diabetics.
Here are the times that insulin may be the most practical medicine for type 2 diabetes:
- When the sugar is very high (with most readings over 250 mg/dl), you might need to start out with insulin injections and then change to oral medicine (pills). Oral medicines sometimes fail to have their usual effect when the sugar level is so high and do not have much effect until it is lowered. Insulin usually can be discontinued in favor of an oral medicine after the sugar is brought to a more manageable level.
- Insulin is among the safest treatments for you if you are elderly or have heart failure or kidney disease.
- Insulin's dose can be raised as high as needed, so people who have elevated sugar levels despite taking maximum doses of other medications can keep their diabetes under control with insulin.
- Insulin is one of the least expensive medicines available for treating diabetes, so it is one sensible choice if cost is an issue.
Approximately one out of three people with type 2 diabetes requires insulin on an ongoing basis.
Curing diabetes without taking Insulin
If you have diabetes, you would be wise to make healthful lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits. These will help to improve glycemic (blood sugar) control and prevent or minimize complications of diabetes.
A healthy diet is the key to controlling blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes complications.
- If you are obese and have had difficulty losing weight on your own, talk to your health care provider. He or she can recommend a dietitian or a weight modification program to help you reach your goal.
- Eat a consistent, well-balanced diet that is high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and low in concentrated sweets.
- A consistent diet that includes roughly the same number of calories at about the same times of day helps your health care provider prescribe the correct dose of medication or insulin.
- It will also help to keep your blood sugar at a relatively even level and avoid excessively low or high blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous and even life threatening.
Regular exercise, in any form, can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Activity can also reduce the risk of developing complications of diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and leg ulcers.
- As little as 20 minutes of walking 3 times a week has a proven beneficial effect. Any exercise is beneficial; no matter how light or how long, some exercise is better than no exercise.
- If you have complications of diabetes (eye, kidney, or nerve problems), you may be limited both in type of exercise and amount of exercise you can safely do without worsening your condition. Consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.
Moderate or eliminate your consumption of alcohol. Try to have no more than 7 alcoholic drinks in a week and never more than 2-3 in an evening. One drink is considered 1.5 ounces of liquor, 6 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. Excessive alcohol use is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Alcohol consumption can cause low or high blood sugar levels, nerve pain called neuritis, and increase in triglycerides, which is a type of fat in our blood.
If you have diabetes, and you smoke cigarettes or use any other form of tobacco, you are raising you risks markedly for nearly all of the complications of diabetes. Smoking damages blood vessels and contributes to heart disease, stroke, and poor circulation in the limbs. If you need help quitting, talk to you health care provider.
Self-monitored blood glucose: Check your blood sugar levels frequently, at least before meals and at bedtime, and record the results in a logbook.
- This log should also include you insulin or oral medications doses and times, when and what you ate, when and for how long you exercised, and any significant events of the day such as high or low blood sugar levels and how you treated the problem.
- Better equipment now available makes testing your blood sugar levels less painful and less complicated than ever. Your daily blood sugar diary is invaluable to your health care provider in seeing how you are responding to medications, diet, and exercise in the treatment of your diabetes.
Medicare now pays for diabetic testing supplies, as do many private insurers and Medicaid.